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Career Advice- Learning Providers, Exams, Costs!?!

Discussion in 'General Microsoft Certifications' started by Eunanibus, Oct 18, 2007.

  1. Eunanibus

    Eunanibus New Member

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    Hello everyone,

    Ive been searching the net for months now, going through providers in the UK such as ICS, Home learning college etc. Ive even been scammed by one company called Skillstrain. Up till recently I thought this was the only way to become certified.

    Eventually I wish to become an MCSE, but I am willing to work towards that level as is obvious.

    I left school at 16 and went straight into work. I am currently 18 years old. I have been scared that my career is going nowhere because of my laziness, but what scares me more is that I am not able to do anything about it. I really need some help. :eek::cry:

    I need to know a few things, and would greatly appreciate any and all advice and help given to me on this subject.

    So here are my questions:

    Learning Providers- Yes? No? They all seem to be a muck about, or extremely expensive. I have no parents and have to pay my own rent and bills. Im sure many of you can appreciate that this is quite a thing to do at my age, so its rather difficult to obtain money altogether. I do not want to be messed around like I was before either. Is going with a learning provider really worth it? If not- what route would be best for me?

    Exams- If learning providers arent the route, I've noticed around the forums on other topics that you have said that self study (although I do not trust myself to do it alone without help or experience) is an option. Therefore I must ask how you are able to register for exams. I ask this because I know that I am already competent enough to take/pass the A+ exam immeadiatly and as soon as possible, and dont think its really worth going to a provider just for A+. Where do I go to register?

    Building Upon my steps- So up till recently i had a big plan, and the big plan was smashed to peices by people around me. This infact is fortunate. It made me rethink my plan. Ive had the basic plan you kind members have all been saying within this forum: i.e: A+ first, N+ later etc etc. However, if I were to go ahead and get A+ and Network+, so that I may continue to progress well, I would need to work, and gain some experience in the field. Therefore, it was my wish that as soon as I had gotten A+ and N+, I would get a job with those qualifications. Is that even possible? Are there jobs that hire with just those qualifications? If so, where and how?




    Thank you ever so much for reading this long winded, and frankly confusing cry for help. As you can tell, I am young, inexperienced although competent, and would graciously accept any help, advice and answers you are all willing to give me.

    Be well :)
     
  2. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Learning Providers: No, if you can avoid using them. You can use self-study for every certification out there (only a VERY small handful require classes, like the upper-level Oracle certs). I have yet to take a training course for ANY of my certifications. :)

    Exams: You can register at Prometric or VUE. Schedule them at your convenience, provided a slot is available at the testing centers close to you.

    You can start applying for entry-level jobs NOW, if you want. Certifications merely make you look more attractive to employers - they don't provide a guarantee that you'll get employment. So, start studying for the A+, and start looking for jobs. When you pass the A+, add it to your CV and keep looking. Eventually, you'll get an opportunity. Be advised that getting your first IT job is likely the hardest thing you'll ever do in IT... but it's possible to do. Otherwise, none of us would be working in IT today.

    Best of luck, and welcome to the forums!
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  3. Eunanibus

    Eunanibus New Member

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    Thank you so much michael, it is a relief to get some advice for a change, and you have changed my perspective so much! I really really appreciate it! Thank you :)!

    Can I also ask what your methods of self study are? What level that you are at (if its not too personal). Because of your advice I wish to start immeadiatly. Therefore, revising for the A+ and booking it as soon as possible. Any additional advice on gaining first employment would also be beneficial to me.

    Once again, thank you so much
     
  4. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    Greetings again, Eunan. Michael answered your questions nicely so there's not much I can add to what he said. I am interested in you using the word "laziness". The MCSE is a very ambitious goal and no one honestly attains it be being "lazy". There's a lot of hard work involved which requires a lot of effort. Also, there's an investment of time and money (yes, even in self-study). It takes at least 2 to 3 years for most people to attain the MCSE.

    Remember, the real goal isn't to collect a bunch of certifications but to learn the knowledge and skills it takes to manage a Microsoft Windows Active Directory environment. No easy task to be sure.

    What is your current level of knowledge and experience in general computing and networking. We tend to advise most "newbies" to start out with CompTIA's A+ and Network+ certifications to lay the necessary foundation for what comes next. In that sense, all you really have to prepare for right now in terms of self study, are those two exams. This means you *won't* have to build a self contained Active Directory environment in a home lab right now (whew...what a relief).

    You should take a look at the A+ and Training and Development forums to see what others are doing to pursue these goals. You can save yourself a lot of time and not have to "reinvent the wheel" by following the course of those who have gone before you.

    Once you've done that bit of research, you should be ready to ask more questions and to get geared up. Hope some of this helps. :)
     
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  5. Eunanibus

    Eunanibus New Member

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    Again, Thank you so much. I used the term "lazy" in reference to my past self. Not having a goal or anything to work towards didnt help. Now I do. The reason I wish to pursue the MCSE is so that I have an internationally recognised qualification that will allow me to work abroad (my dream is to leave england and move to canada).

    Now that I have that goal I feel like I will work as hard as I possibly can for anything I want. Beleive it or not, I have spent the last year researching the MCSE whilst pursuing other things, so this is not a half hearted feat.

    I will investigate the other parts of the forum, like you said, so I do not "reinvent the wheel" haha :biggrin

    Thank you so much
     
  6. Eunanibus

    Eunanibus New Member

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    The site has been fantastic, ive learnt loads, and seen the answers to (and therefore need not repeat) loads of questions.

    I did have a quick question I havent been able to find as of yet.

    A+ exams, its what Im heading for now thanks to you guys. However, Im getting a little confused hearing about several exams 2003 :S.

    Basic question: How many exams make up the A+ and what are the numbers for them (i.e: 220-601?)

    Thanks
     
  7. simongrahamuk
    Honorary Member

    simongrahamuk Hmmmmmmm?

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  8. Eunanibus

    Eunanibus New Member

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    Im a bit confused Im afraid :( Im unable to find out whether Comptia Essentials is one exam, or many exams altogether. (links on Comptia's website are not working). In addition, does it matter whether the study material is US or UK? I wouldn't think the versions of the tests would be different but I dont want to be arrogant and assume before I know anything

    Thanks again everyone
     
  9. nXPLOSi

    nXPLOSi Terabyte Poster

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    Hi Eunanibus,

    To obtain the A+ Cert, you need to pass two exams. The first of which is A+ Essentials (220-601). The second is a choice between 3, (220-602, 220-603 and 220-604). Most people go for the 220-602 which is called A+ IT Technician as the other ones involve remote support and depot support which are rarely needed.

    The 2003 objectives are no longer available for the UK, and the study material doesn't differ between US and UK. The Mike Meyers All In One - Sixth Edition is my personal recommendation as its what I used!

    Best of luck mate :)
     
    Certifications: A+, Network+, Security+, MCSA 2003 (270, 290, 291), MCTS (640, 642), MCSA 2008
    WIP: MCSA 2012
  10. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

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    what he said
     
    Certifications: A+, N+, MCDST, Security+, 70-270
    WIP: 70-620 or 70-680?
  11. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

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    I'd have to side with Trip here, laziness is not going to guarantee you a promising career in any industry.

    Although most people here advocate home study, I'd think really hard about if you have the determination and self motivation to get throught it. Be realistic with yourself - when you get home from work, are you prepared to put in a couple of hours study?

    Are you prepared to do that for a couple of years?

    If you are looking at A+ to start off with, you may want to see if you can attend a classroom course. You may be happier with a more structured learning environment.

    Just a thought.

    Good luck though!
     
    Certifications: MCT, MCTS, i-Net+, CIW CI, Prince2, MSP, MCSD
  12. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    I typically learn through books and hands-on experience. Some people like training videos or classes, but I don't care for either of them, since the pace is too slow for my style of learning. I can't skim a video or a teacher to get to the parts I don't already know... but I can skim a book. Getting hands-on experience is crucial for actually seeing for yourself what the book authors are discussing.

    When I think I'm ready for the exam, I'll sometimes take a (legitimate) high-quality practice exam (I say legitimate, because there are plenty of "cheat sheets" out there called braindumps, which you should avoid like the plague). When I can pass a practice exam the first time seeing a brand-new batch of questions, I'm likely ready for the "real thing".

    My quick background: I've been messing with computers for 28 years, I've been working with them in business for 16 years, and I've been in IT "officially" for 10 years. I currently write exam content for a practice exam company, but most recently I was a senior network administrator for a 450-user healthcare company.

    You can find IT jobs in newspapers and on online job search sites... but everyone does that. Therefore, competition is likely to be fierce. There are plenty of "hidden" IT jobs out there that techs in the industry know about, even before they are posted on sites or listed in the paper. For example, when I was leaving the healthcare company, I started looking for my replacement before posting the position on a job site. The position would have never been listed if I had found the right candidate. If you don't know anyone in IT, meet some - see if there are any IT professional organizations nearby. In the US, we've got the Association of Information Technology Professionals - not sure what you've got there. And you're already meeting some, here... occasionally, one of the members will come across a position where they work. :)

    Hope this helps!
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  13. Eunanibus

    Eunanibus New Member

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    I would like to thank nXPLOSi, greenbrucelee, BosonMichael and JonnyMX for the above advice. As for Mike Meyer's Sixth Edition, is there a store this can be purchased from or is it all online (or better yet! Seeing as it is so expensive does anyone have a spare copy they are no longer using! Haha)

    Thank you all very much
     
  14. hbroomhall

    hbroomhall Petabyte Poster Gold Member

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    Any good bookshop (i.e. in a major town) should have the MM book. Or you can order it from Amazon.

    Harry.
     
    Certifications: ECDL A+ Network+ i-Net+
    WIP: Server+
  15. Eunanibus

    Eunanibus New Member

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    Amazon seems to be the easiest. Its cheaper it appears to buy the MM A+ and N+ book together. Should I do this or is there another book more ideal for the N+?
     
  16. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

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    I usually recommend Sybex's Network+ Study Guide: Exam N10-003, Deluxe, 2nd Edition book. Meyers does a fantastic job on this A+ material but in my opinion, his Network+ stuff is only so-so. The Sybex book gets consistently good reviews and I used the book when I was creating the content for Keystone's CompTIA Network+ 2005 Video class (although if I can help it, I'll never again be involved in creating video training materials).

    That said, since the A+ cert requires that you study for and pass two separate exams, save your nickles and times (pounds, whatever...) and just buy your A+ materials first. That way you can space out your spending and go easier on your budget.
     
    Certifications: A+ and Network+
  17. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    I agree; Sybex's Network+ book by Groth is great.
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!
  18. Eunanibus

    Eunanibus New Member

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    Thanks for answering my questions so quickly again guys :) Another question ( I do apologise if im getting irritating )

    Is the N+ just one exam? if so what number(s)?

    I will get on with A+, using the Mike meyers book. Im going to see if the library has it before i fork out 30 pounds O_O

    Thank you!
     
  19. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Always, always, always go straight to the vendor's site for information like this. Otherwise, you could get wrong or outdated information.

    The Network+ certification consists of one exam, numbered N10-003.
     
    Certifications: CISSP, MCSE+I, MCSE: Security, MCSE: Messaging, MCDST, MCDBA, MCTS, OCP, CCNP, CCDP, CCNA Security, CCNA Voice, CNE, SCSA, Security+, Linux+, Server+, Network+, A+
    WIP: Just about everything!

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